Pete Holland

Pete Holland

 Los Angeles, California, USA


Pete Holland is a 21st century urban folkie, erstwhile collegiate footballer, and chronologically scattered guitar picker. Generally composed amidst the asphalt and smog of Los Angeles, his songs evoke lonesome rural highways and northern California chill more than they hint at their urban beginnings.

Singer-songwriter? Only in its most literal sense. Sometimes the most harmlessly descriptive phrases can evolve into pejoratives, and in this day one cannot use the term singer-songwriter without conjuring images of a twentysomething malcontent, strumming ham-handedly while whining predictable lyrics to the six or so other open-mikers at the coffeeshop. But yes, Pete Holland writes his own songs, plays the guitar and sings 'em.

With an unaffected voice both singing and telling, Pete's lyrics sometimes flow with ease, sometimes sputter and stop and start. They'll remind you of your best and worst days, and always resonate with the familiarity of the average ones. With a guitar style that occupies the undeveloped ground between rootsy flatpicking and a folksinger's strum, between the tradition of Mississippi John Hurt and the convoluted lines of latter day Elliott Smith, the result is part folk and part city, half tomorrow, half yesteryear and wholly its own.

With the April, 2005 completion of his new EP "Life is Precious, Life is Cheap," Pete is shouldering the pleasurable burden of distributing the record by playing anywhere in the West that'll have him.


A Long Letter

Written By: Pete Holland

take good care of yourself my lover, out there burning bright
'cause there's a million more but I want no other to come to every night

an unjust misconception's that I'm the steady focused kind
but I'm a gusty wind with no direction when you're gone and on my mind
the freeways weave like a cloverleaf, they swallow and spit you north
the horizon comes and pulls you over and i go under of course
so take good care of your teeth, brush them nightly and when you rise
until you come on home and smile so brightly you wake my sleeping eyes

ignore each handsome boy that offers pills and cocaine
and i'd bet a princely kingly ransom that each will be in vain
like every sleazy proposition thrown out your way
i'm in a very strange position but it's a tiny price to pay
so take good care of your hair, let it billow and twist and blow
until it spills again over my pillow and chest untied and low

so i buried my face in that shirt of mine that last you wore
and each time i roll over i just end up on the floor
and i suppose it'll be quite a scene 'cause they'll surely find me dead
i'm acting strong but it won't be long before i hit my head
so take good care of that body, of your hips and golden skin
'cause i need it there beside me every night to keep me in

i know it's a long letter phrases broken and well used
that hinges on a word unspoken but understood straight through
and it ain't no fair that your voice is drowned and i can't hear one single song
and i've no choice but to write a hundred 'bout you when you're gone
take good care of your lips, won't you protect them from the wind
do what you dare, but take good care, 'til i can take you in

Friends Like These

Written By: Pete Holland

I can picture you at franklin and vine street
Sitting with you arms around your knees
You need a friend to drive you home but you're sitting there alone
Just you and the hookers and police

If I could explain the world
I’d tell you to get some dreams that might come true
Instead of living of fantasies and wishes
But I guess that’s what we need to get us through

Who needs debt and destruction
Who needs thanks you and please
A thorn in your side, doubt and jealousy
Who needs that with friends like these

And I saw your girl this morning
And I know just what you’re talking about
How she puts a smile on, fuck your husband when you’re gone
But tells you look pretty when it counts

And I sleep with both eyes open
'cause she keep her back to me in bed
I love when she's in town, but don't leave your money sittin' around
It's gone every time I turn my head

Who needs scammers and liars
flim-flammers and thieves
A thorn in your side, adversaries, enemies
Who needs that with friends like these

Wishin' You Were Near

Written By: Pete Holland

When I'm sifting through the garbage you left in my trunk
Sober as a judge, or falling down drunk
The bum outside my window is searching for some scraps
The windows rattle, the wind is blowing taps
And growing old unnoticed is my biggest fear
That’s when I’m a wishin' you were here

The crowd outside the window of the actor who lives below
They wonder what he’s doing, who he’s with they gotta know
When the skinny hipped girls all parade past
Invested in their bodies as if somehow they might last
When I’m wondering what I’m doing here
That’s when I’m a wishing you were near

When you ask me how I’m doing, I tell you that I'm fine
And I can’t remember the last thing I did that took some spine
When in between the days comes little rest
When every moment waking is feeling like a test
When I wish the words I'm thinking could find their way into your ear
That’s when I’m a wishing you were here

Cigarettes and bourbon, black coffee, wine
I'd trade away those things I love if only for a time
I'd give 'em away just to clear my head
to hear Tim Bluhm play his new Martin dread
of all I'm loving, of all I'd like to hear
I'm just wishin' you were near

Thinkin’ about the raindrops falling on your skin
You knocking on my door, I never let you in
You hiding from the weather, you’re waiting out the storm
The rain is unforgiving and you were never warned
When the winter wind a-moving blows the night sky clear
That’s when I’m a wishin' you were near

Sorry to Say

Written By: Pete Holland

I've got a feeling I can't get out of my head
I love to see your face and buy you drinks and share your bed
But you won't find what you're looking for, no matter what you strip away
I don't love you babe I'm sorry to say

Baby, there's a few things you should know about a man
He'll take what he can take, and he'll keep all he can
And if you ever wonder why he acts that way
He don't love you babe I'm sorry to say

I don't love you and I guess I never will
There's nothing there for me waiting behind that thrill
You should let me go and go your way today
I'm just in your way
And I don't love you babe, I'm sorry to say

I could have seen you tonight but I stayed home instead
My body aches to see you but it's no match for my head
And I'm too young to fake it, we're both too old to play
And I don't love you babe, I'm sorry to say

I don't love you, but I guess that's how it goes
If anything should change then you'll be the first to know
But I don't have the guts, so I'll sing what I can't say
I'm just in your way
And I don't love you babe I'm sorry to say

If you need a friend to talk to, then think of me as one
And if you want to be let down then think of it as done
And I'm not saying I'm leaving for sure, but one of us can't stay
And I don't love you babe I'm sorry to say

I don't love you, but I guess that's how it goes
If anything should change then you'll be the first to know
But I don't have the guts, so I'll sing what I can't say
I'm just in your way
And I don't love you babe I'm sorry to say

Don't Lose Your Head

Written By: Pete Holland

Five years pay in six months time
Too hard to resist in this life of mine
So I told my wife I'd be fine
And I won't lose my head

I'll miss her badly, rolls in the hay
Birthday parties and baseball games
I'm a-leaving, but I'll come back someday
And I won't lost my head

So I wake up early, and off I go
I kissed the kids goodnight the night before
And my wife told me what I know
She said don't lose your head

So send me letters and I'll call you lots
Send me pictures, I'll cry over them
Just send me something
And I won't lose my head

And I'm dreaming of those Georgia nights
Whiskey and water and bright moonlight
Sometimes cigarettes and mosquito bites
And I won't lose my head

So I hope you bought some brand new shoes
Your heart's set on that swimming pool
You're job's dreaming, love, mine's making it true
And I won't lose my head

I got your letter days ago
And a list of folks that say hello
And you wrote what I already know
You said don't lose your head

But I'm sweating sand and breathing dust
Been crying bricks and bleeding rust
But the job is mine, so work I must
And I won't lose my head

I'm sorry I didn't write you back
But the mail moves slow out in Iraq
And it's hard to write with hands tied like that
But I won't lose my head

I begged for mercy yesterday
But I doubt I'll do the same today
They don't speak my tongue, anyway
And I won't lose my head

I begged Jesus without a sound
My head tipped forward and kneeling down
But he rarely seems to be around
And I won't lose my head

Now a frosty morning, my coffee cup
Making love before the kids wake up
Is all I can think of and it tears me up
But I won't lose my head

Life is precious, Life is Cheap

Written By: Pete Holland

I can't decide, and I've tried all week
If life is precious or just something cheap
It's kinda funny when you get all the jokes
Sometimes it feels like a goddamn hoax

I soaked my feet and fell on in
And the Adriatic Sea, it salted my skin
Sometimes I'm better than anyone knows
'Cause life is precious, for a moment, I suppose
Welcome to the world, you dumb little boy
Don't you know you've gotta pay for every moment you enjoy
And the thought every moment provokes
Don't know if life is precious or a goddamn joke

Life is rich for the corporate chief
And life has purpose when you're blessed with belief
About some force that pulls you around
Giving meaning to the places and people that you've found
But life is cheap when it's not your own
And you trust in somebody else to take you home
And float eyes closed into old age
'Cause life is precious, not a goddamn stage

Life is precious with a sober mind
Life is cheap when you're narrowly defined
And you try to prove to everyone else
Things you don't believe about yourself
But life is precious when you're at your best
Cheap hoping everyone's impressed
It's hard to remember but I can't forget that
Life is cheap when you fill it with regret

Life is cheap when you don't feel a thing
'Cause life's about feeling it sting
You brush it off and remember it well
Sometimes it's heaven, as far as I can tell
But I can't decide, and I've tried all week
If life is something to throw away or keep
And the thought every moment provokes
Don't know if life is precious or a goddamn hoax


Citizens Warehouse- July 2002
Henhouse Studios Anthology 4- 2004
Life is Precious, Life is Cheap- April 2005

Set List

Typical set? 40-60 minutes. May include:

from "life is precious, life is cheap"-Central Valley Rose, Life is precious Life is cheap, A Long Letter, Bite the Bullet, Friends Like These, Sorry to Say, Don't Lose Your Head

from "Citizens Warehouse"-Esmeralda, Coastal City Fog, Gardiner's Ghost, Do It Wrong, Again, Five Years

misc. originals- State Prison Blues, Wishin' You Were Near, Man Made River

covers- assorted Dylan, Elliott Smith, Mother Hips, Patrick Park